Salmon Potato Bites Appetizers + 10 Do’s & Don’ts for Holiday Entertaining

wine and appetizer pairing3

I have exactly one week and one day to prepare for our annual Christmas Cocktail Party…I have the house partially decorated as you know, and I do have my menu planned out. Now I just need to do all the shopping and prepping that goes into “show time!”  To be honest, after putting this event together for 15 years I really don’t stress about it anymore.  I think I have it down to a science, and I’m going to share some of my secrets with you today. I’m also going to share a tasty salmon-potato bites appetizer with you, that pairs well with wine {thanks to Robert Mondavi Private Selection}.  So, are you ready to get this party started?!

wine and appetizer pairing

5 Do’s…

    1. Figure out what stresses you out the most, about party prep, and learn to manage it.  For example, if you love to prep the food on the day of the party but hate to clean the house, hire a cleaning crew for a day to take care of it for you.  If cooking or food prep makes you nervous, order or buy some items that you love, or let a good friend to bring a dish.  If you’re worried that no one will meet or talk to each other, make sure you invite a few “life of the party” types who are good at interacting with newbies, or have a fun activity as a back up plan {like these conversation starters}.  You don’t have to be perfect at everything – just use some tricks to make it LOOK like you are 😉
    2. Start rearranging and setting up your party spaces the week before.  This week I’ll be setting up my food buffet and bar areas so I know exactly how things flow.  Since this is a cocktail party and people mostly stand and mingle, I want to make sure serving stations are spread out so there are no traffic jams or bottle necks happening.   I’ll also set up food trays and other serving pieces on the table and place sticky notes on them so I know what food goes where.
    3. Get your play list together early.  Music is very important to a parties atmosphere.  I have to admit there’s a little trepidation this year about putting together my tunes because these are our new neighbors and I’m not quite familiar with what they like or expect.  For our past parties we started out with soft Holiday music for a couple of hours and then turned it up a notch {or 5} to a dance party.
    4. Make sure you have a place for coats.  We always clean out the coat closet and stock it with empty hangers at the ready.  You can also designate an unused room as a holding place or rent a hanging rack if you feel the need.
    5. Schedule your time so that you’re ready 30 minutes before the party begins.  This will give you enough time for last minute tweaks and to have a glass of wine before guests arrive.  Also, make sure the bar is open as soon as your first guest arrives.  No one minds if something is still cooking in the oven, but NO one likes to wait for a drink!

salmon appetizers recipe
I have one more bonus “do” for you regarding food.  Incorporate recipes that are more about assembly than mixing, cooking, and prepping a lot of ingredients.  This will save you a lot of time and stress.  These salmon-potato bites appetizers are a good example.  They’re hearty, elegant, and taste great at room temperature.  They also pair well with a white wine like Robert Mondavi Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc.

Salmon-Potato Bites

  • 8 oz cream cheese with chives, softened
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Tobasco sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons capers
  • Russet potatoes {about 5}
  • Smoked Salmon (Lox)

Heat 2 tablespoons cooking oil in a large skillet, over medium heat.

Slice potatoes about 1/4 inch thick, and fry them for about 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through and golden.

Remove and drain on a paper towel. Dab excess oil with another paper towel and sprinkle lightly with salt.

Combine cream cheese, lemon juice, and tobasco sauce in a small bowl. Fold in capers.

Using a small scoop or spoon, add cream cheese mixture on top of potato slice and top with a slice of salmon.

Add another tiny dollop of cream cheese to the top and garnish with capers.

You can get about 10 slices per potato.

 PIN this recipe

5 Don’ts…

  1. Don’t try to do too much.  Focus on a few key areas that you want to shine, and concentrate your efforts there.
  2. Don’t be a nervous Nelly.  As the hostess, if you’re not having fun then your guests won’t either.
  3. Don’t let anyone drink and drive.
  4. If you do order food or buy prepared trays from the grocer, do NOT serve it from the commercial packaging.  Transfer it to silver, white, clear, or festive platters & servers.  The same goes for condiments – pour bottles or jars of condiments into pretty containers.
  5. Don’t run out of food, ice, or booze.  Stock up!

These are just some of my tips for hosting during the holidays.  I’ve definitely learned to take it easy on my self so I can enjoy the party as much as my guests can.  Hope you will too! And if you need more party food ideas check out these ham & Parmesan appetizers, or these classic ham & cheese pinwheels.

PIN these tips & see more Holiday Entertaining ideas.


RMS_LogoType_CurvesRobert Mondavi Private Selection offers something authentic, true to Mr. Mondavi’s legacy of making great quality, expressive wines from California’s Central Coast. Connect with us on Facebook for more:

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Compensation was provided by Robert Mondavi Private Selection via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Robert Mondavi Private Selection.

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